Please read our student and staff community guidance on COVID-19
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Human Infections

Infectious diseases continue to pose a major threat to human health worldwide. Using bespoke mathematical and statistical analysis, members of the Zeeman Group are at the cutting edge of addressing problems of national or global importance, providing a range of predictions and statistical analyse that have direct policy implications. Some examples include:

Viral Infections in East Africa

Based largely in the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi, Kenya, there is a long-standing and diverse interest in the dynamics and control of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). RSV is a complex pathogen and a major cause of childhood mortality in Africa. Projects combine community-based studies in households and schools, immunology and molecular characterisation, high throughput sequencing and mathematical and statistical modelling. (PIs: Nokes)

The recently funded GeMVi (Application of Genomics and Modelling to the Control of Virus Pathogens) aims to bring the concepts used to study RSV to bear on a range of other public-health problems in East Africa. High throughput pathogen sequencing and predictive models underpin the modern approach to understanding community spread and optimal control of many infectious diseases. However, despite generally higher disease burden and a greater need for effective targetting of control, low income countries seldom have access to these modern tools. GeMVi aims to reduce this deficit in East Africa, by training the next generation of local researchers, combining strengths of University of Warwick, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (Kenya) and other East African Institutes. (PIs: Nokes, Keeling)

ntdlogo.pngNeglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

Many urgent policy issues concerning the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can only be answered through high-quality quantitative modelling. However, a dearth of modelling in this area prevents donors and policy makers from accessing existing expertise. The NTD Modelling Consortium acts as a point of contact to commission modelling to address the right questions. (PIs: Rock, Dyson, Courtenay, Keeling).

Work in Warwick has currently focuses on:

With previous work including: Leprosy and Lymphatic Filariasis

vaccination.jpgPredictions of Vaccination (MEMVIE)

Immunization is a key and highly successful tool in the fight against a range of infectious diseases, but is associated with a considerable cost, with the UK spending in excess of £200 million per year on vaccines and vaccine delivery. The University of Warwick has considerable experience and expertise in infectious disease and health economic models that necessary to assess whether any change in the immunization programme is cost-effective. Current Department of Health funded research has examined vaccination for: human papiloma virus; pertussis (whooping cough); pneumococcal infection and influenza. (PIs: Keeling, Starvos, Staniszewska)

sickle_cell.jpgGenetic Diversity and Evolution

Host and pathogen species exert huge selective pressures on each other, in an ongoing cycle known as host-pathogen co-evolution.

At the Zeeman Institute, we are developing new mathematical and computational tools to address how resistance genes evolve in host populations, and how this affects the spread of infectious disease. We focus in particular on the genetics of the immune system, and on the interplay between human genetic diversity and malaria. (PIs : Penman)


Seasonal influenza remains a major cause of mortality even in countries where routine vaccinations are available, and influenza pandemics have the potential to cause world-wide devastation. Research in the Zeeman Institute examines multiple aspects of this problem, from the emergence of new human transmissible strains, to predicting the spread and control of future pandemics, to understanding the role of immunisation in the control of seasonal influenza. This work links closely with the MEMVIE project (which provides cost-effectiveness analysis on vaccination programs) and the research of Avian Influenza in poultry (which are a potential source of future pandemics).

amr.jpgAntimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is a natural process whereby microbes evolve to be able to resist the action of drugs, making them ineffective; it is considered one of the biggest future challenges to human health. Working with a strong cross-campus team, researchers in the Zeeman Institute collaborate closely with Public Health England and local Hospital Trusts to examine the spread of AMR and methods to reduce its evolution. (PIs: Keeling)